Download Full Text (280 KB)

Document Type



The number of X-rays, specifically CT scans, performed on patients in the United States is increasing exponentially every year. Children are at most risk for long term damage from this increase in radiation exposure. This study explores how much risk children are being exposed to and how we can, as practitioners, make informed decisions about when or when not to order CT scans. The purpose of this paper is to provide practitioners the information needed to help patients decide if the long-term risks of cancer from medical radiation outweigh the potential benefit of diagnostic or therapeutic radiation. The review of literature looked at both sides of this question. Some researchers claim that the risk of radiation has been overblown and exploited by a news-hungry press. However, all the researchers report that there are real concerns about radiation dose and dose adjustments for pediatric patients. It was found that by reviewing the studies that have been performed, clinicians can reach a middle ground in which no unnecessary radiation exposure is allowed, but the use of extremely helpful diagnostic tools, like CT scan, are employed to diagnose and treat conditions as early in the disease process as possible.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Susan Kuntz

Publication Date



Child; Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced -- epidemiology; Radiography -- adverse effects; Risk Factors; Tomography, X-Ray Computed -- adverse effects


Neoplasms | Radiation Medicine

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Radiation Exposure and Diagnostic X-Rays in Children